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Anyone else like Birds AND planes? (1 Viewer)

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi John,

I can do you an A380 manoeuvring under cloud on its way into Heathrow, photographed while I was looking for Southern Emerald Damselflies. Condensation off an A380..... wow!

Awesome, thanks a lot for sharing that picture! :) Perfect with all the clouds arounds, that's just the kind of environment where such spectacular condensation is possible!

Regards,

Henning
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Lovely to hear a couple of deep roaring radials over the weekend but couldn't get out to "spot" them in time even though clear blue skies and sounded as though cruising quite slowly.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Regarding the badges worn by the seated officers I recognise the standard Wings but what does the 45 degree single wing denote please? Is that the rear navigator / weapons officer logo for the period.
Thank you.
 

mummymonkey

Well-known member
Supporter
United Kingdom
Regarding the badges worn by the seated officers I recognise the standard Wings but what does the 45 degree single wing denote please? Is that the rear navigator / weapons officer logo for the period.
Thank you.
That's right, Pat. In the RAF we called them navigators or just navs. In the USA they were called weapons systems officers (WSO) pronounced wizzo or radar intercept officers (RIO). I think one was air force and the other navy but might be mis-remembering. The missile control system (which included the nose radar) or MCS was my trade.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
That's right, Pat. In the RAF we called them navigators or just navs. In the USA they were called weapons systems officers (WSO) pronounced wizzo or radar intercept officers (RIO). I think one was air force and the other navy but might be mis-remembering. The missile control system (which included the nose radar) or MCS was my trade.
Thank for that sir and for your service - grew up just loving the smokey Phantoms and proper Lightnings.
 

MJB

Well-known member
Found this old photo of me. Anyone guess the squadron?
By that time, had 43 got FGR2 with AWG-12 radars?

When I did the engineering plan for Treble-One's move to Leuchars from Coningsby in 1975, 43 had numerous (18?) FGA1 Phantoms with AWG-11 radars.

111 had only 10 aircraft out of a 12-aircraft establishment: another was on major servicing and the last was acting as a mobile ferry to bring modified outer wings for the squadron and return unmodified outer wings for modification. Although road transport of these outer wings was the initial method, the move to Leuchars would have delayed the wing replacement programme sufficiently to prevent the squadron from becoming operational, and so I was part of the team that persuaded 11 Group to authorise use of an aircraft as a wing ferry.

There were noses thoroughly out of joint at 11 Group, and so they insisted that we met our generation target (At no notice in any 24-hour period, produce 75% of established aircraft at full armed readiness [8 air-to-air missiles per aircraft] within 2 hours). Given that 111 had only 10 of their 12 established aircraft, that meant for months we had to achieve 9 fully-armed aircraft out of 10 in 2 hours out each time a no-notice exercise was called. Phantoms were not the easiest aircraft to keep serviceable and were not maintenance-friendly: for many simple component replacements, the weapons system had to be disconnected and related items removed in order to access and replace the unserviceable component. After putting everything back into place, hours of weapons system checks were required to clear the aircraft for flight and for operations. In a 6-month period, we achieved our aircraft generation targets.

I was very proud of my team for that.
MJB
 

mummymonkey

Well-known member
Supporter
United Kingdom
By that time, had 43 got FGR2 with AWG-12 radars?

When I did the engineering plan for Treble-One's move to Leuchars from Coningsby in 1975, 43 had numerous (18?) FGA1 Phantoms with AWG-11 radars.

111 had only 10 aircraft out of a 12-aircraft establishment: another was on major servicing and the last was acting as a mobile ferry to bring modified outer wings for the squadron and return unmodified outer wings for modification. Although road transport of these outer wings was the initial method, the move to Leuchars would have delayed the wing replacement programme sufficiently to prevent the squadron from becoming operational, and so I was part of the team that persuaded 11 Group to authorise use of an aircraft as a wing ferry.

There were noses thoroughly out of joint at 11 Group, and so they insisted that we met our generation target (At no notice in any 24-hour period, produce 75% of established aircraft at full armed readiness [8 air-to-air missiles per aircraft] within 2 hours). Given that 111 had only 10 of their 12 established aircraft, that meant for months we had to achieve 9 fully-armed aircraft out of 10 in 2 hours out each time a no-notice exercise was called. Phantoms were not the easiest aircraft to keep serviceable and were not maintenance-friendly: for many simple component replacements, the weapons system had to be disconnected and related items removed in order to access and replace the unserviceable component. After putting everything back into place, hours of weapons system checks were required to clear the aircraft for flight and for operations. In a 6-month period, we achieved our aircraft generation targets.

I was very proud of my team for that.
MJB

Sounds an interesting Job, MJB!

43 only ever operated FG1 phantoms. 111 had mostly FGR2 but they did have a few FG1 (might have been twin stickers but it was a long time ago and I never served on 111). 18 was indeed the nominal aircraft establishment which sounds a lot but with one thing and another if we got half a dozen in the air at one time we thought we were doing a good job!

You'll no doubt be familiar with the problems with the old AWG-11/12 radar sets which were frankly, awful to maintain and had a MTBF of minutes, until an update to the High Voltage sub-systems in around 1983 increased it so we could get 2 or 3 sorties before failures.

Here's another picture of me - anyone know the squadron and location?

Not this time Andy.jpg
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Sounds an interesting Job, MJB!

43 only ever operated FG1 phantoms. 111 had mostly FGR2 but they did have a few FG1 (might have been twin stickers but it was a long time ago and I never served on 111). 18 was indeed the nominal aircraft establishment which sounds a lot but with one thing and another if we got half a dozen in the air at one time we thought we were doing a good job!

You'll no doubt be familiar with the problems with the old AWG-11/12 radar sets which were frankly, awful to maintain and had a MTBF of minutes, until an update to the High Voltage sub-systems in around 1983 increased it so we could get 2 or 3 sorties before failures.

Here's another picture of me - anyone know the squadron and location?

View attachment 1388928
I'm going to have a massive guess at 23 and the Falkland Islands!

John
 

MJB

Well-known member
At the suggestion of my radar Trade Manager on 111, Chief Technician Chalky White, we began a first-line investigation of the Phantom FGR2's AWG-12 radar, whose mean time between failure (MTBF) in primary mode was 1.3 flying hours, to discover if there was anything basic contributing to that abysmal statistic. For almost 6 months Chalky and his troops (who were keen to volunteer for extra work if they could learn more about the quirks of the system) worked in this fashion: if Chalky was on day shift, he would work an extra 4-5 hours with a couple of his own shift or any spare help from the night shift; if he was on night shift, Chalky would come in 3-4 hours before his shift began. They examined the radar power supply LRUs and cabling, the voltages carried and maintained by each section of the radar power supplies, they looked for induced currents in wiring looms, they critically examined connections and LRU mounts, looked for flawed earthing of LRU mounts and for intermittent short-circuits. Second-line support on the other side of the airfield were inspired to examine all spare LRUs and all that were to be sent off for modification or deeper repair, and all that arrived in as replacement stock.

At the same time, tail number 410, an aircraft that had acted as a flying trials unit for A&AEE Boscombe Down, was the worst aircraft for electrical, inertial navigation and radar failures. In using this aircraft as the primary source of our investigation, we found that several near-complete wiring looms installed and used for trials purposes had not been removed. Adding together all the wires in these looms, we removed over 3km of wiring. We applied all the additional checks devised by Chalky in the course of his investigation as standard checks at varying periodicities to all 111 aircraft, after having them formalised by the Central Servicing and Development Establishment** at RAF Swanton Morley as authorised Unit procedures, their implementation being recorded in the aircraft F700 in the first RAF use of the Fleet Air Arm's Aircraft Husbandry Log.

Our radar MTBF went up to 11.5 flying hours... The radar technicians on 111 no longer needed to do routine overtime.

The manhours spent on our investigation ran into the thousands, for which we received a bollocking from 11 Group...(It spoiled their statistics).

However, 111 Squadron Boss, Wing Commander Tony Park made sure that Chalky got the CinC's Commendation!
MJB
PS
LRU = Line Replaceable Units, mostly black boxes, but also some hydraulic valves in the radar scanner aerial
A&AEE = Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment

**I spent 3 fascinating years at CSDE in the mid-1980s
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi MJB,

The BBC quite rightly, has an item on the memorial in Normandy to honour veterans, noting that the unveiling was accompanied by a fly-past by the Red Arrows. Unfortunately they unthinkingly used a stock photo of the Red Arrows when they flew Gnats and not Hawks... See the image here: British Normandy Memorial unveiled in France to honour veterans. They converted to the Hawk in 1979, 42 years ago...

Hm, don't you think they might just have used a current photograph of the Patrouille de France?

Regards,

Henning
 

KenM

Well-known member
Lest I forget! shot last week afore it (one of two) disappeared over the roof....not an Apache!...Comanche?😄 502C1686-2B42-4803-8E7B-50C75EC94F8E.jpeg
 

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